Germany, 19th April 2011
It got late last night…travelling can be tiring even though exciting :). Yesterday I visited was Siteco, leaders in day lighting systems, one of the other exciting concepts that I am greatly interested in. Siteco (born out of Osram and Siemens and soon to be fully taken over by Osram) has been working for years with Bartenbach studio’s in the development of secondary lighting systems. In today’s world of lighting, going green is becoming the prime focus of every building design and the harvesting of (free) sun/day light in minimising our carbon footprint is a key component of the process. Understanding the process of converting day light into usable illumination through sun shielding and light (re-)directing requires the necessary expertise that not many of us have.
I like to think of myself a lighting designer but after now having been exposed to the day lighting technologies I better reclassify myself as an “artificial lighting” designer, as I definitely lack the expertise in designing day lighting systems. A short coming that I am trying to remedy with this trip….And it is not only lighting designers that need to understand this. The day lighting expertise straddles over architecture (building design) and M&E services (heat control) as well.
While the opportunities seem exciting and promising, like LED technology there is still much ground to cover before we get it all right! Not only do we have options between movable and fixed prism systems, there is also the integration in the building design and combination with artificial lighting that need to be carefully harmonised. As always costs are a major issue and finding proper financial justification is still a big challenge. For instance it makes no sense to apply day lighting systems if the gain in energy saving through lighting is offset by the additional costs of heat control, read air conditioning. The cost of implementation has to make some economic sense.
For lighting designers it is therefore becoming vital to understand the critical parameters that make for a good day lighting design so we can become better partners in the discussions between client, architect and other services. We all know how to work with day lighting as part of our artificial lighting design, but it is the creation of the day lighting systems in which we as lighting designers need to take a bigger and more proactive role rather than leave this to architects and engineers.
In Light Watch today I have to mention the beautiful spring weather we are currently experiencing in Europe. The crispness and color of the light is absolutely amazing and watching the interplay of the sun with nature and architecture under a clear blue sky is very inspiring! We don’t get that in the tropics!